In Genesis 32, Jacob spends the night wrestling with God…or an angel…or one of Hulk Hogan’s ancestors. At the end of the bout, in Genesis 32:28, he is given the name Israel. This is the name his offpsring, the people God would use to bless the world, are known by to this day. The odd thing about this, is what Isreal means — “one who struggles with God.”
You would think that God would choose something a bit more inspiring for his chosen people — perhaps something that meant ‘chosen’, ‘valued’, or ‘precious.’ Not so, however. God’s choice followers would forever be known as the ones who struggled.
This actually makes quite a bit of sense when you think about it. There is no one who has had more struggles with me than my wife. There is no one who has had more struggles with my wife than me. Closeness and intimacy includes struggle — sometimes a lot of it. Shouldn’t it be the same for those who claim to be close and intimate with God? We often portray a relationship with him as blessing and bliss, but shouldn’t it make sense that this closeness and intimacy also leads to greater struggle as well?
Sometimes, Christians are portray themselves as God’s star pupils who have all the answers. If everyone would just line up behind us and do what we do, everything would be all right. Maybe what this world really needs to see is not that we have all the best answers, but that we have the deepest struggles.